Love ’em or hate ’em, they’re everywhere.
I was ever so anxious to begin my own traditions when I moved out almost a decade ago. Keeping some little things of course, but remaining open to trying all things new and seeing what was out there.
Until this past year, I have stuck true to my roots (with minor alterations!). But life has changed more than I ever imagined and in ways I couldn’t have predicted. All which had me desperately craving change this past holiday weekend.
For weeks leading up to the Easter long weekend, I was day dreaming of hitting the highway, getting away for a bit and enjoying junk food – allll weekend. It’s been a long, tedious semester and my poor body needed a break from treatment – doctors orders. Then things changed. I was on turkey duty yet again and none too happy about it. But I pick my battles in our home and I just wasn’t up for this one. So I tried to put on the happy face and be as festive as possible – it fell flat as flat could be. Not only was I not in a festive mood, I was down right cranky. Not to seem ungrateful or unappreciative, but I had my fill of playing the tradition game. 30 years was a long time to play the game of others. So come Sunday night, after 7 long hours of cooking and cleaning, I collapsed on my couch, body literally vibrating from exhaustion and pain and simply looked at Vic and said, “No more.”
Just those words – no more were really needed for him to see that I was serious.
I have spent the last 4 holidays cooking and cleaning, playing hostess and never truly enjoying the break. I was ready to do exactly what my doctors had advised – I was being a little selfish. I was ready to plan a holiday of no cooking, no fuss, no mess, no cleanup – just plain relaxation and enjoyment.
I wanted fun holidays with takeout in throw away containers, filled with laughter and great memories. I wanted to balk at tradition and hit the highway or the airport and celebrate life instead of working all day for a 30 minute meal. I wanted to experience the holidays in other places, discovering other cultures.
If even just sometimes. I think it’s the freedom I’m craving most of all. Just to not be expected to conform.
For years I felt selfish holding onto these dreams and we’re taught that selfishness is a terrible trait to possess. Turns out my doctors and therapists (not the kind you’re thinking!) disagree. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been told that, “It’s okay to be selfish sometimes. Actually, it’s about time you were. You need that right now.” in the last 2 months. I see the balance now and realize that just because I need a change, doesn’t mean I’m being selfish in a mean and nasty way, because as my MD pointed out – the other party in those cases are just as selfish by making me feel that way.
So if you’re someone, like myself, that is afraid of balking tradition – if even just once – but are being made feel terrible for it, or you feel as though you’re letting someone else down — stop it!
It’s OKAY to put yourself first and it is in fact necessary. Just try it – it feels absolutely AMAZING! So go and create your own traditions. Modify old ones, build new ones or simply ignore traditions altogether and wing it. Whatever your fancy – just remember to enjoy the holidays and leave yourself with incredible memories!
(Compliments of Pinterest! 😉 )